I'm giving myself a challenge: to make all of Brown Eyed Baker's top 10 cupcake recipes. This is my first go-round. I decided to try out Mocha Cupcakes first because I LOVE coffee and chocolate. I don't think there is a better combination in the world! (Okay, chocolate and peanut butter is a close second.)
The result? AMAZING. I'm obsessed. The coffee and chocolate work wonderfully together: the flavour is perfectly balanced, not too much on either spectrum. The cupcakes were moist, creamy, and incredibly tasty. And the frosting... oh, the frosting. It was heavenly. It took a heck of a lot of beating, but it was SO worth it. It's light, fluffy and melts in your mouth. It also has a perfectly light coffee flavour that doesn't overpower the cupcake.
(Also, I apologize for the rudimentary icing job. I'm still learning!)
I have a confession, however: I didn't use espresso! Instant coffee was what I had on hand, so that's what I used (I've adapted the recipe to accommodate that). I always try to accommodate recipes to use what I already have in the kitchen.
Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup strong brewed coffee
- 1½ teaspoons espresso powder (2 teaspoons instant coffee powder)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- Mix the espresso or instant coffee powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined. In a measuring cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Baking for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.
Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons espresso powder (1¾ teaspoons instant coffee powder)
- Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
- Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.